Ian McKellen E-Posts

7 July 2004


 Q: Hello from Moscow! Lately I've seen "Macbeth" in the cinema. I doubt, that it was the legal show. Imagine it: Friday the 13th, the dark hall, the huge screen and twenty spectators. It was wonderful! The unforgettable film was shown in the unforgettable atmosphere. I am full of impressions! Thank You very much! @—}—}— P.S. Please, come to Moscow!

A: Yes a good way to get terrified out of your mind is to watch that video in the dark, a real thriller of a story. My sister's pupils used to scream out in horrified excitement. I was invited to this year's Film Festival in Moscow coinciding with the European release of Emile. Sorry I couldn't return: I was last there publicising Gods and Monsters, and previously Richard III or Apt Pupil, two anti-fascist interpretations which should have appealed in Russia.


Q: Having recently been chosen for the role of Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream and being a newcomer to Shakespeare on the stage, I wondered if you had any suggestions on how to cope with the many entrances and exits through the house that I have been assigned? Does one involve the audience in any way?

A: In keeping with the soliloquies where Shakespeare's characters (including Bottom in MN'sD) address the audience directly, I don't see why Puck shouldn't acknowledge them too. I shouldn't recommend any ad-libbing as you nip between the knees of the audience.


Q: We have long needed a strong film version of Lear, and I wonder if you've considered the idea for a film. I think Paul Scofield proved that an actor playing Lear should be many years younger than the actual Lear, and it struck me that no one could play the part better than you. What do you think?

A: I'm almost sure that my next Shakespeare onstage will King Lear. After that might be the time to consider a film. To embark on a screen version without the back-up of full rehearsals and playing many times in front of an audience would be for me foolhardy. All my screen Shakespeares have been preceded by a stage production.